Chris MacManus, Assistant Principal at Neale-Wade Academy

“If you wish to do well in education, the opportunities in this area are endless. My own quick rise to Assistant Principal is testament to that.”

What is your career history?
Originally from Ireland, I graduated as a secondary teacher in English and RE in 2010. I decided to travel before starting my career and on my return in 2014, I interviewed with several schools in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire via an agency. I was luckily offered a post with the school that I felt best suited me.
As soon as I started teaching, I immediately knew I had made the right decision with the school and the area. Supported by the school, I quickly established myself and was promoted to Progress Leader in 2015.

Coming from Ireland, I had attended and trained in schools with roughly 200-300 students. As a Progress Leader, I had 300 students in my own year group. This gave me the drive and focus to make a difference – something we all wish to do in this profession – across a complete cohort, whilst also gaining whole school experience.

After two years as Progress Leader, I was promoted to Assistant Principal for personal development, behaviour and welfare. Currently, I am Assistant Principal for teaching and learning.

How did you get to where you are today?
Passion, perseverance and personality. The education industry is not for everyone, but I firmly believe if you are passionate about your work you will make a difference. At times we must persevere and see the bigger picture and the wider goals which should drive us on. Personality is key in working with young people in this ever-changing society, and sometimes I feel we need to empower young people and provide them with the skills to become resilient and strive for their own personal success.

What makes Fenland and East Cambridgeshire an exciting place to teach or lead?
This is my fifth year working in the area and we are lucky to work with a wide range of demographics. This means that every day brings a new challenge and you can easily see how much of a positive influence you have on changing the lives of young people.

Why is Fenland and East Cambridgeshire a great place to develop your teaching career? How has the area helped you to progress?
Opportunity. It is as simple as that. If you wish to do well in education, the opportunities in this area are endless. My own quick rise to Assistant Principal is testament to that. A comprehensive programme of continued professional development allows all staff to develop in my school – Neale Wade Academy – which is part of the Active Learning Trust.

What is the best bit about living in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire?
Since my partner and I moved to the area, we have immersed ourselves in the community. We live in the town where I teach which has given us a stronger sense of community and understanding of the students and parents and carers alike.

We are so happy here that we have settled down and started a family, with our second child due to arrive any day. The area has many beautiful natural attractions, a great standard of living and is a perfect place to raise your kids. Equally enticing is the proximity to the cities of Peterborough, Ely and Cambridge. There are direct routes to London too and the beaches along the wonderful Norfolk coast are some of the best in the world.